Thursday, February 29, 2024
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Thursday, February 29, 2024

How far will Assad be allowed to go?

More than twelve years have passed since the outbreak of the Syrian uprising in the spring of 2011 which led to the killing of more than half a million Syrian citizens, the displacement of more than ten million, and the destruction of thousands of cities, villages and neighborhoods.

Bashar Assad; Credit: AFP

In addition, we have witnessed the consolidation and legalization of two abhorrent occupations; Russian and Iranian, which have become a reality on the ground in Syria with regular armies and affiliated militias, not to mention the humiliating market monopoly, exploitation contracts, and insulting political agreements that have the potential to extend for decades.

The whole country has been altered and no one can even estimate the true losses of the Syrian people, let alone compensate them for all they have sacrificed in their quest for freedom. Even if someone was willing to try, it would prove to be an even more monumental task than holding the perpetrators of their losses accountable for their crimes.

Syrians know that like any other Arab regime, the secret of the Assad regime’s survival lies in protecting Israel’s borders, in carrying out what is required of it by the global system

Some wonder about the secret of the survival of Bashar Assad and his regime, despite all that the Syrian people attempted to do to overthrow him. They wonder why Assad remains in power despite all of the international community’s efforts to help Syrians gain their freedom and get rid of the brutal regime.

Although the truth is clear to Syrians, it needs enlightenment for others to understand the nature of this conflict, and to know why the bad guys have been victorious in it so far. Syrians know that like any other Arab regime, the secret of the Assad regime’s survival lies in protecting Israel’s borders, in carrying out what is required of it by the global system in terms of maintaining security and peace in the Middle East, in preserving gas and oil supplies, and in curbing political and radical Islamic movements within its borders.

For fifty years of the rule of the Assad family in Syria, the Syrian army, as well as the Syrian security and intelligence institutions, came to be managed by Alawite officers and leaders who linked their fate, and the fate of the Alawite sect, with the fate of Assad and his regime in Syria

The regime has also aided in its own survival by keeping most of its people below the poverty line and leaving the country outside the system of urbanization and technical progress, while at the same time transferring their own personal wealth to Western banks so that it can be  recycled in “civilized western countries.”

But the secret of Assad’s survival appears to go deeper than that. In recent years we have discovered that Bashar Assad, his regime, and his entourage, are linked to criminal circles that are larger, stronger, and farther away than we can imagine.

In the Nazi and Iranian manner, and in the manner of other medieval campaigns of ethnic and religious cleansing, Bashar Assad has created a doctrinal army that fights relentlessly to protect him and his regime in a fateful battle against the Muslim majority in Syria. For fifty years of the rule of the Assad family in Syria, the Syrian army, as well as the Syrian security and intelligence institutions, came to be managed by Alawite officers and leaders who linked their fate, and the fate of the Alawite sect, with the fate of Assad and his regime in Syria.

He also succeeded in neutralizing the Christian, Druze, and Ismaili sects; turning them into loyalists, political supporters, and supporters of his propaganda. In turn, these minority sects became a lobby in his favor throughout the international political geography, from the Far East to the Far West. He also built alliances with a limited group of wealthy people from every factional segment in Syria who benefited financially from their connections to the regime, whether Islamists, Kurds, clans, professionals, businessmen, artists, influencers, etc.

international support for the Syrian opposition also weakened after the death of King Abdullah (King of Saudi Arabia) and the arrival of King Salman who appointed his son, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) as crown prince

In addition, the opposition is fragmented and the diversity of their intellectual orientations has often led to disagreements and confusion. This situation has been further complicated by the diversity of their platforms, and the multiplicity of loyalties to the countries and governments that allow them to operate in their lands.

Much to the dismay of many of its allies, international support for the Syrian opposition also weakened after the death of King Abdullah (King of Saudi Arabia) and the arrival of King Salman who appointed his son, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) as crown prince. In an effort to appease neighboring Iran, and obtain the support of the regimes in the region, specifically counter-revolutionary coalition regimes which are brutal and do not hesitate to take any action or reaction to preserve their existence, MBS played a prominent and influential role in thwarting the Arab Spring uprisings, including the revolution which began in Syria in 2011.

Likewise, Turkey’s support has deviated by at least 90 degrees since 2011 and its support for the Syrian opposition decreased by 50 percent when Ankara, in its search for loyal allies, was forced to win the sympathy of Moscow and Tehran after the Turkish president found himself targeted by the Arab counter-revolutionary alliance who supported attempts to overthrow the Turkish civil government and replace it with a military one.

The Assad regime has ensured its survival by becoming the largest drug cartel in the world with the help of its Russian, Iranian and Lebanese partners

Even the United States and its Western friends made do with statements that are compatible with their declared principles of freedom, democracy, and the right of peoples to obtain their human dignity, but did not do anything except impose economic sanctions that have not greatly affected Assad or his regime.

But one of the major reasons that Assad has been able to survive financially is that in recent years he has risen to the status of a major international drug trafficker. The Assad regime has ensured its survival by becoming the largest drug cartel in the world with the help of its Russian, Iranian and Lebanese partners. Nor does he skimp when it comes to supplying his Arab friends and supporters with whatever amount of drugs they need in order to keep their own chairs. Economic experts also suspect that he is able to access the European banking system through his drug connections in Europe.

Assad and his regime are but a single page in a bloody black history book, just a drop in a huge dark sea filled with atrocities

Some may think that the Assad regime has no place in the civilized world, but this is not true. It has a prominent place like any other regime as it is no less criminal than what some other governments of the “civilized world” have done throughout history.

So Bashar Assad or the Syrian regime is not a single black point in human history. Assad and his regime are but a single page in a bloody black history book, just a drop in a huge dark sea filled with atrocities. But today the possibility exists to give humanity an opportunity to purify itself from shame and disgrace by neutralizing Assad’s criminality, and disqualifying his regime, thus granting the Syrian people an opportunity to build a civilized state to which they aspire.

Abdulrahman Rabboa
Abdulrahman Rabboa
Syrian writer, editor and journalist; member of the Syrian Journalists Association (SJA); political and human rights activist

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